Paragraph Structure Argumentative Essay Format

Writing an argumentative essay is a common task that most high school, college, and higher education students face, whether they know it or not. It is commonly assigned on standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, IELTS, and TOEFL. Regardless of your natural writing talents, following the step by step methodology provided by our writers team will help one produce high-quality content that is a joy to readers eyes!

The first question one may have when approaching this task is: "what is an argumentative essay?" If we take a look at the definition, Using tools such as facts, statistics, and references, the author must create a logically defendable explanation as to why their point of view is the "right one."

A common question students ask is: "what is the difference between argumentative and persuasive essay writing?" Well, while . Therefore, there is a clear distinction between the two types.


Table Of Contents




Argumentative Essay Topics

Just like with all other essay types, there are tons of topics to choose from when writing an argumentative essay. However, it is important to remember that they must be in a debate format. In other words, explain why option A is better than option B, or vice versa.

Here are some good argumentative essay topics to get you started:

  1. Apple vs. Microsoft: Which software brand is more useful for students?
  2. Do violent video games have a negative psychological impact on children?
  3. From a financial perspective, should one invest in cryptocurrencies?
  4. From an economic standpoint, are electric cars better overall?
  5. Has society become too reliant on technology?

Interesting Argumentative Essay Topics for High School

As students will begin writing this type of content in school, it is essential to give them easy essay topics so they can get a grasp of the task.

  1. What is the most important second language to know as a US student?
  2. Should the minimum driving age be lowered?
  3. Are standardized tests a fair reflection of students skills?
  4. Are athletes overpaid for their skills?
  5. Should high school students be free to choose their classes?

Topics for College

As we transition to the university level, the question asked alongside the complexity of content should increase. With that being said, here are some challenging topics for college students.

  1. Is there enough evidence to prove that news sources have a biased agenda?
  2. Would the legalization of marijuana as a recreational drug be economically justifiable?
  3. Can we constitute Russia as a superpower alongside the USA and China?
  4. What was the most influential technological advancement in the history of humanity?
  5. Should we sacrifice some public services for lowered tax brackets?

Creating An Outline

Now that we understand what this type of writing is all about, we can start putting pieces of the argumentative paper outline together. Usually written in the five-paragraph structure, this essay will consist of an introduction, 2-3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Logically, each of those three sections will have a unique structure, so understanding them on an individual level will help ensure a smooth writing process.

We will be using "the internet" as the most significant technological advancement in society as an example

Introduction (3 Parts)

  1. How To Start An Argumentative Essay (Hook Statement): As with most other types of essays, one should attempt to captivate the reader's interest from the very beginning. To do this, create a sentence that stands out from the rest of the text. The goal is to get your audience reaching for that bag of popcorn right after reading the hook!

  2. Background Information: After gathering the audience's attention, the next step is to present any necessary context to narrow the focus. Also, it should ideally transition the train of thought towards the thesis statement.

  3. Thesis Statement:. It is essential to writing a thesis correctly, and this is accomplished through proper phrasing. your primary objective is to defend your idea, so the thesis must DIRECTLY state what your idea is and why it is correct.

Body Paragraphs (4 Steps)

  1. Topic Sentence: Start with a sentence that transitions the focus from the previous paragraph to the current one; it should also introduce the main sub-argument for that particular section.

  2. Claim: After presenting your topic sentence, it is time to link your main sub-argument with the thesis statement. The goal is to explain how this point validates and strengthens your central message.

  3. Evidence: After providing a valid claim, you must defend it with factual support. Examples of this can be statistics, references or logical ideas that support ones claim since they are getting information from external sources, adding to the essays overall validity.

  4. Concluding Statement: After presenting a defendable claim and supporting it with evidence, one must end the body paragraph with a concluding statement. In other words, why was this particular point so essential?

Note that this structure works for each body paragraph. The main difference comes with the actual claim, supporting evidence, etc.

Conclusion (3 Steps)

  1. Restate The Thesis: (thesis statement). Using assertive language, restate your thesis in an "I have 100% proven this point" type of way. When information is presented to an audience with confidence, they are subconsciously more inclined to believe that it is in fact, true.

  2. Brief Summarization of Sub Arguments: Most likely, the audience has already forgotten some of the information you presented. For this reason, go back through and review your main points, giving your argument closure.

  3. Overall Concluding Statement: To end an argumentative essay with a bang, . Usually, this sentence will express the universal importance of the information and should leave the reader with a call to action for further investigation.

The Writing Process

When it comes to sitting down and writing an argumentative essay, the author has four primary objectives:

  1. Brainstorm + Topic Selection: Obviously, before one can start putting pen to paper, they have to figure out what they will be writing about. Unless one has been given a predetermined topic, they will usually have freedom of choice. ; doing so will naturally give the author more enthusiasm and motivation to do a good job.

  2. Research, Research, Research: Even if you are savvy in the field of choice, there is a bundle of information out there that is unknown to you. of a topic and what avenue you will approach.

  3. Writing A Rough Draft: Now that you have a thesis and valid external information, you can start putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard.) Follow the outline laid out above for guaranteed success and keep in mind the following things:

  1. Writing a Final Draft: After finishing your rough draft, take some time away from the essay. Let your brain recover and come back to it the next day (or a few hours later, depending on how bad of a procrastinator you are) with a fresh perspective. More likely than not, you will see flaws in grammar, vocabulary, and logic. Make those final amendments and read your essay out loud for a final polish. If it sounds good, then looks like you are finished!

Tips For Success

Reason Trumps Emotion: Since we are writing an argumentative essay, it is crucially important to remember that we must fixate our points towards rational reasoning. Save the emotions for someone who cares!

Include Counter Arguments: Many writers forget this step, and this definitely harms their rate of success. A supported argument without a considered counter argument has reached half of its potential. Make sure to explain why your case carries more weight than the other!

Get outside peer editing: Just because your points make sense to you, doesn't mean that the readers will automatically understand your reasoning. Get some peer editing from a friend who can validate the logic behind your argument!

Argumentative Essay Examples

Down below you can find some good argumentative essay examples. The first essay talks about the value that comes with the freedom of strikes for public workers. The second essay discusses the importance of economic equality in a nation, alongside possible repercussions and potential threats if not met. Both present fantastic arguments that students in need of help can learn from!


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Remember, academics are challenging, but if you approach them the right way, any challenge is overcomable. So get crackin!

Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader's logic.

The focus of such an essay predicts its structure. It dictates the information readers need to know and the order in which they need to receive it. Thus your essay's structure is necessarily unique to the main claim you're making. Although there are guidelines for constructing certain classic essay types (e.g., comparative analysis), there are no set formula.

Answering Questions:  The Parts of an Essay

A typical essay contains many different kinds of information, often located in specialized parts or sections. Even short essays perform several different operations: introducing the argument, analyzing data, raising counterarguments, concluding. Introductions and conclusions have fixed places, but other parts don't. Counterargument, for example, may appear within a paragraph, as a free-standing section, as part of the beginning, or before the ending. Background material (historical context or biographical information, a summary of relevant theory or criticism, the definition of a key term) often appears at the beginning of the essay, between the introduction and the first analytical section, but might also appear near the beginning of the specific section to which it's relevant.

It's helpful to think of the different essay sections as answering a series of questions your reader might ask when encountering your thesis. (Readers should have questions. If they don't, your thesis is most likely simply an observation of fact, not an arguable claim.)

"What?"  The first question to anticipate from a reader is "what": What evidence shows that the phenomenon described by your thesis is true? To answer the question you must examine your evidence, thus demonstrating the truth of your claim. This "what" or "demonstration" section comes early in the essay, often directly after the introduction. Since you're essentially reporting what you've observed, this is the part you might have most to say about when you first start writing. But be forewarned: it shouldn't take up much more than a third (often much less) of your finished essay. If it does, the essay will lack balance and may read as mere summary or description.

"How?"  A reader will also want to know whether the claims of the thesis are true in all cases. The corresponding question is "how": How does the thesis stand up to the challenge of a counterargument? How does the introduction of new material—a new way of looking at the evidence, another set of sources—affect the claims you're making? Typically, an essay will include at least one "how" section. (Call it "complication" since you're responding to a reader's complicating questions.) This section usually comes after the "what," but keep in mind that an essay may complicate its argument several times depending on its length, and that counterargument alone may appear just about anywhere in an essay.

"Why?"  Your reader will also want to know what's at stake in your claim: Why does your interpretation of a phenomenon matter to anyone beside you? This question addresses the larger implications of your thesis. It allows your readers to understand your essay within a larger context. In answering "why", your essay explains its own significance. Although you might gesture at this question in your introduction, the fullest answer to it properly belongs at your essay's end. If you leave it out, your readers will experience your essay as unfinished—or, worse, as pointless or insular.

Mapping an Essay

Structuring your essay according to a reader's logic means examining your thesis and anticipating what a reader needs to know, and in what sequence, in order to grasp and be convinced by your argument as it unfolds. The easiest way to do this is to map the essay's ideas via a written narrative. Such an account will give you a preliminary record of your ideas, and will allow you to remind yourself at every turn of the reader's needs in understanding your idea.

Essay maps ask you to predict where your reader will expect background information, counterargument, close analysis of a primary source, or a turn to secondary source material. Essay maps are not concerned with paragraphs so much as with sections of an essay. They anticipate the major argumentative moves you expect your essay to make. Try making your map like this:

  • State your thesis in a sentence or two, then write another sentence saying why it's important to make that claim. Indicate, in other words, what a reader might learn by exploring the claim with you. Here you're anticipating your answer to the "why" question that you'll eventually flesh out in your conclusion.
  • Begin your next sentence like this: "To be convinced by my claim, the first thing a reader needs to know is . . ." Then say why that's the first thing a reader needs to know, and name one or two items of evidence you think will make the case. This will start you off on answering the "what" question. (Alternately, you may find that the first thing your reader needs to know is some background information.)
  • Begin each of the following sentences like this: "The next thing my reader needs to know is . . ."  Once again, say why, and name some evidence. Continue until you've mapped out your essay. 

Your map should naturally take you through some preliminary answers to the basic questions of what, how, and why. It is not a contract, though—the order in which the ideas appear is not a rigid one. Essay maps are flexible; they evolve with your ideas.

Signs of Trouble

A common structural flaw in college essays is the "walk-through" (also labeled "summary" or "description"). Walk-through essays follow the structure of their sources rather than establishing their own. Such essays generally have a descriptive thesis rather than an argumentative one. Be wary of paragraph openers that lead off with "time" words ("first," "next," "after," "then") or "listing" words ("also," "another," "in addition"). Although they don't always signal trouble, these paragraph openers often indicate that an essay's thesis and structure need work: they suggest that the essay simply reproduces the chronology of the source text (in the case of time words: first this happens, then that, and afterwards another thing . . . ) or simply lists example after example ("In addition, the use of color indicates another way that the painting differentiates between good and evil").

Copyright 2000, Elizabeth Abrams, for the Writing Center at Harvard University

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